10. I’M NOT A ROLE MODEL
Charles Barkley made headlines in 1993 in his NIKE commercial in which he said: “I’m not a role model”. His message sparked a huge criticize around the world
“I’m not a role model… Just because I dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids.” Charles Barkley
9. UNCLE DREW
The character, played by Kyrie Irving, debuted in 2012 in a series of viral videos promoting a zero-calorie soft drink called Pepsi Max. The spots featured the point guard, done up in old-man prosthetics, visiting streetball courts and schooling shocked opponents.
The popular commercials earned Irving the kind of national recognition that few athletes ever experience.
8. LIL’ PENNY
Hardaway starred in the Nike advertising campaign “Lil Penny”, featuring an alter ego puppet version of Hardaway which was voiced by comedian Chris Rock.
7. BE LIKE MIKE
Michael Jordan in 1997 “Be Like Mike” is a Gatorade commercial featuring American professional basketball player Michael Jordan that originally aired in 1992.
After seeing an early cut of the commercial, just featuring highlights of Jordan dunking, advertising executive Bernie Pitzel was disappointed. Pitzel came up with an idea to use the song “I Wanna Be Like You” from the 1967 film The Jungle Book, though Disney asked for more money in licensing to use it than Gatorade was willing to pay.
Pitzel wrote the lyrics to “Be Like Mike” inspired by The Jungle Book song and put it to a tune by Ira Antelis and Steve Shafer. “If we had used music from The Jungle Book,” Antelis told journalist Darren Rovell, “the advertisement would have been forgotten.
6. THE KOBE 2 AD – Adidas commercial for the Kobe 2 sneaker.
Even with four public release colorways (Charcoal, White, White/Yellow/Purple, Silver) and one special American flag edition (in light of 9/11), The KOBE TWO failed. Kobe did, however, star in a sick commercial showing off his dunk arsenal.
5.23 VS 39
It features Michael Jordan at age 39 going up against Michael Jordan at age 23 in a one-on-one basketball game.
Michael Jordan is working out in a gym alone, just shooting around. A door opens on the other side of the building and in walks none other than Michael Jordan. Only this is the young-legs MJ, the circa-‘87 MJ, complete with a No. 23 Bulls uni, a pair of the old, bold red-and-black Airs on his feet, and hops for days and days and days. The game is on. Experience versus hunger. Wisdom and guile head-to-head with brilliant abandon. Head-fakes and shoulder lean on the perimeter against head-fakes and acrobatics around the rim. Trash talks in both directions. Playoff intensity and playground swagger in the air.
4. FREESTYLE – Vince Carter, Darius Miles, Lamar Odom, Rasheed Wallace, Jason Williams
At the 2001 All-Star Break, the Nike freestyle commercial made its debut.
The commercial would go down as one of the most memorable Nike spots ever. Featuring pro players and streetballers in freestyle segments which, put together, recreated classic hip-hop instrumental of Afrika Bambaataa & The Soul Sonic Force—”Planet Rock”—it had everyone figuring out how to replicate the moves that were featured, and spawned many different spoofs and homage videos in the coming years. One of the players featured in the video was Vince Carter, who at the time was coming off his Slam Dunk Contest win and the most popular player in the league. Hunter would end up shooting in Los Angeles, New York, and Toronto.
The commercial was so popular that Canadian sports television network TSN showed a 30-minute, behind-the-scenes special of the spot.
3. FROZEN MOMENT
In one of the most epic of all Air Jordan commercials, we watch as MJ glides to the basket in slow motion as fans hang on to his every move. On his feet, of course, are the Air Jordan XII White/Black “Taxi” colorway. This has gone down as one of the most memorable Air Jordan commercials ever.
2. THE SHOWDOWN
In 1993, just before the kickoff of Super Bowl XXVII on NBC, McDonald’s aired “The Showdown” with Larry Bird and Michael Jordan, a minute and a half spot in which Jordan shows up at a gym with a Big Mac and fries and is challenged by Bird to a game of H*O*R*S*E, with the winner getting the meal.
The commercial, created by ad agency Leo Burnett, Chicago, broke on TV late the previous year but did not have a memorable impact until it aired on Jan. 31 in front of 90 million viewers.
The Bulls icon’s black-and-red Air Jordan 1s were banned by the NBA. It was the simplest of commercials: a single shot, panning from top to bottom, ending with a new logo. The messaging was simple, too, delivered in voiceover: “On September 15th, Nike created a revolutionary new basketball shoe. On October 18th, the NBA threw them out of the game. Fortunately, the NBA can’t stop you from wearing them.